Published On: Mon, Aug 24th, 2015

Police Driving and Safety

Although police are recognized as contributing to the safety of society, at times they can seem to be more of a nuisance than a benefit. Nowhere is this more true than when you see a cop driving in a way that seems unsafe and know you would be ticketed for. Much like an episode in which Barney Fife received a citizen’s arrest for doing a U-turn after writing a ticket for an illegal U-turn, it can really get your goat to see an officer do exactly what you had to pay a fine for.

There are two things to remember about an officer’s driving. First, the officer has been trained to drive in a way the ordinary citizen has not, and that is so they can respond to emergencies without the hold up of traffic. Secondly, you probably aren’t aware of what is going on or the importance of a situation to which the cop is responding.

Running Red Lights

Like most people, it probably really irks you to be waiting at a stop light and see cops pull around you, cut their blues on, only to turn them off once through the light. It seems like they’re taking advantage of their authority to avoid the nuisance of waiting! Realistically, though, what’s actually happening is they are first responders to an incident that isn’t an immediate emergency but requires their attention without the further dangers of kicking it at 90 mph to get there.

Bottleneck Traffic Stops

Nothing is worse than trying to negotiate rush hour traffic jams and realize the jam is because some cop has a guy pulled over in a spot that doesn’t allow them to get off the road. Couldn’t the cop have just followed, and pulled the guy once there was a parking lot to turn into, or at least a shoulder to pull onto? The explanation is that the officer is trying to get the ticket filled out quickly so traffic can get moving again. The other option is far more sinister, in that the offender was posing such a great danger that he had to be stopped immediately. In the second case, consider what the situation may be if the drunk driver was allowed to remain on the road as compared to the inconvenience of having to wait on a traffic bottle neck.

photo Oregon Department of Transportation

photo Oregon Department of Transportation

Talking on the Phone

According to the general uproar about cell phone usage while driving by everyone you talk to on a daily basis it still seems that everybody driving continues to use their phones while driving. You can see them through their windows. Everybody says they only use their phone while stopped at red lights, which is nonsense, as you can see them continue to chat as they drive through after the light turns green.

The hypocrisy of seeing a police officer chatting on his phone while driving is maddening. Police don’t have some multi-dexterous super power that allows them to drive one-handed while holding their phone, but that isn’t the issue with using a phone while driving. It’s important to understand that cops have training toward remaining aware of the situation around them while distractions abound. They also have the advantage of being in a cop car so other drivers pay special attention to them.


Another pet peeve that probably dogs your bone is to see a police officer speeding without his lights on. Once again, you don’t know what is going on. Perhaps if you check yourself you’ll realize that not knowing what is going on annoys you more than the fact that somebody is speeding when you can’t. When police are the ones speeding, you should assume they are responding to a critical issue that requires immediacy, although the person on the other end of the phone they’re using suggests it isn’t yet an immediate emergency.


Traffic schools, or defensive driving courses are available to you if you’ve received a moving traffic violation or want to earn a discount on your car insurance. If you’ve received a traffic ticket, your state’s county traffic court may allow you to complete traffic school to dismiss the citation and avoid having points added to your driving record. If you decide to enroll in traffic school voluntarily, your car insurance provider may award you with a safe driver discount.

Guest Author: Lolita Di


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